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Experts demand change in ‘Nepal-India Trade treaty’

Nepal's Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli (L) shakes hands

Kathmandu : At an interaction on ‘Nepal-India Trade’ organised by the Ministry of Commerce on Monday, traders and experts asked the concerned authorities to make effective changes in the trade treaty, focusing on the effective implementation mechanism of the agreement.

Experts and private sector players have said that the new treaty, which is going to be reviewed on October 28, should address the escalating trade deficit, participation in Indian value chain, technical barriers to trade, preference erosion, trade facilitation, attracting investment, and trade capacity enhancement, reports Himalayan Times.

According to experts, the existing bilateral trade agreement extend less number of facilities than as agreed in the multilateral and regional trade agreements and hence the new trade treaty should correspond with the arrangements of World Trade Organisation (WTO) and South Asian Free Trade Area.

Private sector players have also emphasised on the elimination of quantitative restrictions. The prevailing treaty has set quantitative restrictions on vegetable fats (Vanaspati ghee) up to 100,000 tonnes, acrylic yarn up to 10,000 tonnes, copper products up to 10,000 tonnes and zinc oxide up to 2,500 tonnes per year.

The private sector has also sought elimination of state taxes and simplification of prevailing procedural hurdles in exporting pharmaceuticals, cardamom, ginger and medicinal herbs, among others.

Commerce Minister Jayanta Chand, while addressing the programme, expressed his concern over country’s ballooning deficit with the southern neighbor and stressed on the institutional and productive capacity enhancement to boost exports, adding that attracting investment from India could lower the escalating trade gap and give opportunity to Nepal to boost export and.

Ranjit Rae, India’s ambassador to Nepal also suggested that the government and the private sector should set a goal of doubling the trade volume in the next five years and develop action plans that will address all the issues raised by Nepal like quarantine-related matters, trade-related infrastructure development and other various trade facilitation measures.

The trade pact between the two countries was last revised and signed on October 27, 2009. The agreement is reviewed and changed as necessary every seven years. (ANI)

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